It’s time for Spool-Along block #2… and a special fabric surprise! Fat Quarter Shop is generously providing a charm pack of Sunnyside by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics to a lucky reader or Spool-Along participant. Find out how to enter to win this gorgeous fabric (so new it’s not even available in stores yet!) at the bottom of this post.
Now on to the block. As Captain Picard would say, “Make it sew.” I’ve got directions for making a single block or a bunch. Scroll down for directions for power-piecing four identical blocks, perfect for swaps.
Cut the following (great for using up scraps!):
- Striped “thread” fabric: (1) 3″ x 8″ rectangle (stripes should go across the 3″ direction, not up and down the long 8″ side)
- Contrasting “spool” fabric: (2) 5″ x 1-3/4″ rectangles
- Light/neutral background fabric: (1) 5″ x 2-1/2″ rectangle, (2) 1-1/2″ x 8″ rectangles, and (4) 1-1/2″ squares
(all seams are 1/4″)
1) Sew a 1-1/2″ x 8″ background rectangle to each 8″ side of the 3″ x 8″ thread fabric to make a 5″ x 8″ thread-background unit. Press toward the thread fabric.
2) Sew a 5″ x 2-1/2″ background rectangle to one of the 5″ x 1/3/4″ spool rectangles along the 5″ side to make a 5″ x 3-3/4″ spool unit. Press toward the spool fabric.
3) Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of each of the 1-1/2″ background squares.
4) Place the remaining 5″ x 1-3/4″ spool rectangle right side up and put a marked 1-1/2″ background square right side down with the marked diagonal line as shown in 4a. (Note: the square is 1/4″ shorter than the rectangle. It does not reach to the bottom of the rectangle.) and sew along the marked line.
Tip: Sew from the middle of the rectangle towards the corner as shown in 4b, not the other way around. This will prevent the corner from being pulled into the feed dogs.
Repeat with another background square on the on the other side as shown. Take care that the diagonal line is turned in the correct direction.
5) Repeat step 4 on the spool fabric side of the spool-background unit, both the left and right sides. Take care that the diagonal lines go in the correct direction as shown. (Note: the square aligns with both top and bottom edges of the spool fabric part of the unit now.)
6) Press the stitched background squares as shown in 6a. To reduce bulk, trim away the excess background fabric (the middle layer only, not shown) leaving a 1/4″ allowance.
You can also cut away the excess spool fabric as well, leaving a little less than 1/4″ allowance as shown in 6b. This will both cut down on bulk and help prevent the darker spool fabric from showing through.
Tip: If the background triangle and the corner of the spool fabric do not line up well, you might want to consider leaving the spool rectangle intact so that you have an accurate edge to sew along when you are sewing your pieces together. See how the pink triangle doesn’t quite reach the edge of the blue rectangle in pic 6c? If you cut off the fabric of the rectangle underneath to reduce bulk, then the outer edges you are going to be sewing along will no longer be accurate.
7) Sew a 5″ x 1-3/4″ spool rectangle to the bottom of the thread-background unit. Line it up as shown in 7a. Pins are helpful at seam intersections. Pin before and after each as shown and then sew a few stitches over each intersection as shown in pink thread in 7b.
Check to see how accurately the corners match up. If you like the way it looks, sew the entire length of the seam. If you don’t, take the stitches out, adjust, re-pin, and try again. Press in either direction, whichever way makes the corners match better.
Tip: Sometimes pressing in one direction will look better than the other way if the corners almost match, but not quite. Pressing in the wrong direction here can also make a good corner look bad.
8) Repeat step 7 to sew the spool side of the spool-background to the top of the block as shown. The points of the triangles at the outer corner are not supposed to reach the corners of the block. See pic 8. Woohoo! Points that don’t have to match! The unfinished block will measure 5″ x 12-1/2″ (4-1/2″ x 12″ finished).
To make four identical blocks:
Cut the following:
Striped “thread” fabric: (1) 3″ x width of fabric strip (make sure the stripes are going across the 3″ direction. This is not usually a problem, most stripes go parallel to the selvage.) Trim down to 3″ x 33″.*
Contrasting “spool” fabric: (1) 1-3/4″ x width of fabric strip (Need 41″ long, most fabric should be just wide enough. See below if it’s not.)
Subcut strip into (1) 21″ strip* and (4) 5″ x 1-3/4″ rectangles. (If your strip’s not quite long enough, cut the last rectangle from yardage if you have enough, or get by with less cutting insurance on the strip: 20-1/2″ instead of 21″.)
Light/neutral background fabric: (1) 2-1/2″ x width of fabric strip and (2) 1-1/2″ x width of fabric strips
Trim the 2-1/2″ strip down to a 2-1/2″ x 21″ rectangle.*
Subcut each 1-1/2″ strip into (1) 33″ strip* and (4) 1-1/2″ squares. Use the leftover fabric from the 2-1/2″ strip to cut 8 more 1-1/2″ squares for a total of 2 strips and 16 squares.
*includes a little extra fabric “insurance” for trimming errors.
(all seams are 1/4″)
2) Sew the 2-1/2″ x 21″ background strip along one of the 21″ sides of the 5″ x 21″ spool strip to make a 3-3/4″ wide pieced strip as shown in pic 9.
3) Press the thread-background strip towards the thread fabric and press the spool-background strip towards the spool fabric.
4) Subcut the thread-background strip into (4) 5″ x 8″ thread-background units and subcut the spool-background unit into (4) 5″ x 3-3/4″ spool-background units.
5) Starting with step 3 of the single block instructions, follow the directions for making a single block, except do each step four times instead of one.
Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew has a nice cheat for sewing diagonal lines on snowball blocks without marking in her Snowball Block Tutorial. This is great for times like this when you’re stitching many of them. You can also find various quilting gadgets for sewing half-square triangles that would work in this case as well.
2 Steps to Enter:
1. Leave a comment below. Tell me what you’d like to make with the Sunnyside Charm Pack if you win.
2. After you comment, sign in with your Facebook account or your name/email in the Rafflecopter widget below. This will put your name into the drawing and unlock other ways to win. (If the Rafflecopter widget box does not appear, click on the link below that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway”.)
Making a Spool-Along block and sharing a photo of your block gives you 5 entries! (You’ve got 2 weeks to make and post your block.) Other easy ways to enter include following me and Fat Quarter Shop on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribing to my blog. (Current fans and subscribers can enter too!)
Good luck and can’t wait to see your Spool-Along blocks!